BY JIM KOURI
The U.S. Department of Defense’s primary responsibility — in fact, its raison d’être — is national security and providing military forces to deter war, yet it blows tens of billions of dollars on preposterous things unrelated to its true reason for existing, according to an Inside-the-Beltway watchdog on Tuesday.
A variety of unimaginable examples are featured in a biting report published by a Republican U.S. Senator, who asserts that the Pentagon could easily save around $70 billion over ten years without cutting any Army brigade combat teams, Navy combat ships or Air Force fighter squadrons, a Judicial Watch release stated. It could be done simply by getting rid of the waste, according to the report’s findings.
Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released an oversight report, “Department of Everything,” which outlined how the DOD can save $67.9 billion over ten years by making specific cuts to what Dr. Coburn describes as “non-defense” defense spending – spending that DOD can cut without cutting vital defense priorities.
“I believe in peace through strength but we cannot be strong militarily unless we are strong economically. And we cannot be strong economically if we treat politically-sensitive areas of the budget as sacrosanct. At a time when our own military leaders are calling our debt our greatest national security threat we need to look at every area of the budget for potential savings. No part of the budget can be taken off the table. Achieving peace through strength, and getting our debt under control, must involve refocusing the Pentagon on its core mission,” said Dr. Coburn.
“I prepared this report because the American people expect the Pentagon’s $600 billion annual budget to go toward our nation’s defense,” Dr. Coburn added.
“That isn’t happening. Billions of defense dollars are being spent on programs and missions that have little or nothing to do with national security, or are already being performed by other government agencies. Spending more on grocery stores than guns doesn’t make any sense. And using defense dollars to run microbreweries, study Twitter slang, create beef jerky, or examine Star Trek does nothing to defend our nation,” said the political veteran.
The $67.9 billion in savings in the “Department of Everything” report could pay for a third of the cost of the planned fleet of new strategic bombers for the Air Force. It could, likewise, pay a third of the cost of the fleet of Ohio-class replacement nuclear submarines for the Navy. For the Army, $16 billion over ten years – about 25 percent of the savings in the report – could mean robust funding for modernization or purchase of new rifles and light machine guns for every soldier.
That’s because the DOD has a set annual budget, that is only 18 percent of the entire federal budget, with a large chunk going to non-defense projects that are tough to justify as defense expenses.
For instance, the Senator Coburn’s probe reveals that the Pentagon funded $6 billion in studies that have little or nothing to do with national defense or medical needs related to military service.
In one study, according to Judicial Watch, an anthropologist at a public California university got $681,387 to examine whether men holding pistols are viewed as taller, stronger and more masculine than those wielding objects such as saws, paint brushes and caulking guns. That study revealed that guys with guns do in fact appear bigger, stronger and more masculine.
In another example, Judicial Watch pointed out that for a $5.2 million grant researchers at an Ivy League university found that golden shiner fish could show the nation how to overcome political polarization and promote democracy.
Meanwhile, the Office of Naval Research spent $450,000 to study how babies interact with robots. The DOD also burned $700 million on “duplicative and unnecessary alternative energy” projects and $1.5 million to create its own brand of beef jerky treats.
The Pentagon also spends more than $9 billion to operate 254 grocery stores throughout the United States to benefit military retirees. Most of the stores, known as commissaries, are actually located just blocks from major chain grocery stores. The money spent on these questionable projects could fund a third of the planned fleet of new strategic Air Force bombers, according to the Sen. Tom Coburn, who exposed the waste.
“I prepared this report because the American people expect the Pentagon’s $600 billion annual budget to go toward our nation’s defense,” Coburn said in a statement posted on his official web site. “That isn’t happening. Billions of defense dollars are being spent on programs and missions that have little or nothing to do with national security, or are already being performed by other government agencies.”
Self-Educated American Contributing Editor, Jim Kouri, CPP, is the fifth Vice President and Public Information Officer of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, has served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Contact Jim.